Call a Cab or Phone a Friend – Do Not Drink and Drive

As the smoke from the fireworks has settled and everyone is headed home, those who have been consuming alcohol are being warned by law enforcement to call a cab or phone a friend; do not drink and drive.

Deadly day on the road

Photo by: Matthew Blouir

Photo by: Matthew Blouir

The 4th of July is a day of celebrating our nation’s independence and many do this by consuming mild to excessive amounts of alcohol while playing with dangerous fireworks. This combination itself can be hazardous, but getting behind the wheel of a car after drinking is can be fatal for the driver or others on the road.

Do Not Drink and Drive

Photo by: Michael Fötsch

Be responsible-don’t drink and drive

Residents who end up wasted at the end of the night usually know ahead of time that their plans involve drinking. Instead of making the deadly and usually impaired choice to drink and drive, party-goers are encouraged to be responsible and plan ahead. Some ways to do this include:

• Decide early on a designated driver.
• Give a sober friend the car keys.
• Have a friend or family member pick you up at a determined time.
• Have the number to a cab company on hand and enough cash for the trip home.
• Take public transportation to the party to take away any option of driving home.
• Encourage those around you to not drink and drive as well.

Increased DUI patrols

Photo by: 911 Bail Bonds Las Vegas

Photo by: 911 Bail Bonds Las Vegas

Law enforcement officials throughout Utah are warning residents that they will have an increased amount of patrols out in full force to catch drunk drivers this 4th of July. Those who drink and drive and a caught by one of the numerous DUI stops planned for the holiday can face days to weeks in jail and up to thousands of dollars in fines. Additionally, choosing to drink and drive for one night can result in a suspended license for up to 2 years. Those facing DUI charges with or without being the cause of an vehicular accident are encouraged to contact a criminal defense attorney.

Public Intoxication on Private Property

They who stroll around town belligerently drunk risk being arrested for public intoxication, but what if they are on their own private property?

Photo by: harlandspinksphoto

Photo by: harlandspinksphoto

Public intoxication defined

Utah Code 76-9-701 states “A person is guilty of [public] intoxication if the person is under the influence of alcohol, a controlled substance, or any substance having the property of releasing toxic vapors, to a degree that the person may endanger the person or another, in a public place or in a private place where the person unreasonably disturbs other persons.”

Loud drunks

If someone is intoxicated on their private property but is being loud enough to disturb their neighbors, they can be charged with public intoxication. What about those who wish to drink quietly in their front yard, never disturbing others? This is a gray area which a few have fought in court and won recently. There are a couple ways to help in prevent cases such as these.

Fenced private property with signs

If the general public can enter a yard or porch without having to open a gate, many law enforcement officers agree that the property therefore becomes public, since anyone can access it. If a fence with a gate is placed around the property with signs stating that it is private, that can help distinguish the property as not being public, and can make public intoxication charges harder to stick.

Keep it down

Even if a yard is fenced, a loud party with several drunken friends is likely to get the police called. By keeping things quiet, those in a party who venture outside to possibly have a smoke or to get some fresh air will be noticed less by neighbors. For those facing public intoxication while they were on their own private property, contact a criminal defense attorney to discuss if the charges are just.

Southern Utah woman arrested for Child Abuse

Party of one

A southern Utah woman was arrested for child abuse Friday when police found her passed out drunk while her 1 year old baby wandered unattended.  26 year old Amanda Lee Gardner was staying at The Rodeway Inn in southern Utah, where it appears she consumed a large quantity of alcohol and left her 1 year old daughter to roam the hotel.

Photo by: Christina Welsh

Photo by: Christina Welsh

Sick baby, drunk mom

The one year old baby girl was found alone by other patrons of the hotel after 10pm at night.  She was wandering around on the outside balcony of the second story and was acting very ill.  She was vomiting and obviously needed medical care.  Police were called and when they located Gardner she was intoxicated on the floor, and difficult to arouse.  Police then contacted an ambulance and CPS.

Treated, then arrested for child abuse

Both baby and Gardner were taken to Dixie Regional Medical Center.  The baby girl was dehydrated and had hypothermia but has made a full recovery.  She has been taken into Child Protective Services until further notice.  Gardner was released from the hospital, arrested, and transported to Purgatory Correctional Facility in Hurricane, Utah.  She is facing charges of child abuse of a disabled child because of her neglecting a child of such a young age.  This charge is a third-degree felony.

Next time get a sitter

Amanda Lee Gardner has history of alcohol offenses in southern Utah, but no known charges of child abuse.  She was ordered to get help in the past for her addiction, but it appears that alcohol still has control of her life.  It is unknown as to why she was at the hotel with her daughter and if she was drinking alone.  Although no child should be left in the care of a negligent parent, proper rehabilitation for Gardner could eventually make her fit to parent her child again.  With an understanding and intelligent criminal defense attorney, those facing child abuse charges while under the influence of alcohol can regain control of their lives again.